A Bharatiya Janata Party leader who has been accused in the 2018 Bulandshahr violence case, during which a station house officer was killed, was appointed the party’s zonal president in Uttar Pradesh, reported The Indian Express on Tuesday.

The BJP has 31 zonal presidents in Bulandshahr district. Sachin Ahlawat, who was charged with rioting and assault to deter a public servant from discharging his duty, has been made president of the BB Nagar mandal.

On December 3, 2018, inspector Subodh Kumar Singh – the station house officer of the Siyana police station – and a 20-year-old student, Sumit, were killed when a mob attacked policemen after cattle carcasses were allegedly found in the fields in Mahaw village.

Ahlawat, 38, had allegedly called up Yogesh Raj, who was then a Bajrang Dal convener and is also the prime accused, to inform him about the alleged cow slaughter in the village. Following the call, a mob gathered at the spot and started agitating.

The newly-appointed zonal president, however, has denied all charges and said he was falsely accused.

“On the day of the incident, one of the police personnel asked me for my cellphone,” Ahlawat told The Indian Express. “I gave it to him. He called Yogesh Raj and spoke to him. Now, no one is ready to accept this.”

Ahlawat also claimed that he had only gone to the spot where violence broke out to find out what was happening.

“I was then BJP’s Siyana mandal secretary,” he said. “I was standing and watching the protest from a distance and a few people present at the spot were taking photographs and making videos. The police booked me because I was seen in the photographs and videos.”

Ahlawat said that he has now been appointed president of BB Nagar Mandal because of his “hard work and long association with the BJP”.

BJP’s Bulandshahr district president Vikas Chauhan echoed Ahlawat’s statement and said that he has been associated with the party for over a decade.

“Because of the photographs and videos of the incident, the police had named Sachin Ahlawat in the first information report,” said Chauhan. “Sachin was only present at the spot. He is not a professional criminal and has no other case against him.”

The Uttar Pradesh Police had registered two cases in the aftermath of the violence. While one was for cow slaughter, the other was regarding the killing of the inspector and the student.

The first case was filed on the basis of a complaint by Yogesh Raj who named seven Muslims from his Nayabaans village as the prime accused. Among the persons he named were a 11-year-old and a 12-year-old boy.

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